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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  February 20, 2013 8:00am-9:00am PST

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king's twitter account on monday. remember this? >> pardon me, would you have any gray poupon? >> get ready for this. they're relaunching the poured me ad to try to boost lagging sales with other mustards. it features car chases and crash and gets a prime time view. cnn news room continues right now. i am john berman in for ashleigh banfield today. from capitol hill to the courthouse and maybe to prison jesse jackson jr. is not the first law maker to make this journey but he's the one pleading guilty as we speak. no bail yet for the blade runner but the defense scores points as new details emerge from the death of his model girlfriend. this used to be the place to see and be seen in kansas city. today it is a smoldering ruin and a woman is still unaccounted
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for. >> we begin at this hour at the d.c. course where jesse jackson jr. son of the civil rights icon former congressman from chicago is pleading guilty to skimming, making shoveling money from his campaign kofers. we're talking $43,000 for a watch, furs and cashmere clothing. two hats worn by michael jackson, almost $10,000 for children's furniture and a football autographed by u.s. presidents. illegally diverted and due to be paid back. that's not all. lisa sylvester is outside the courthouse. we're talking about the possibility of jail time. >> reporter: that's right. in fact, the preceding are still going on as we speak. i just came out minutes ago. they are all inside the courthouse. he is in the process right now of pleading guilty.
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he faces one charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and making false statements. that carries a maximum of up to five years in prison and also a $250,000 fine. i can give you kind of a sense of what is going on right now in the courthouse. first of all, his father, the reverend jesse jackson junior is also in the courthouse arrived today. his wife is also facing charges for filing a false tax return. she has her own separate hearing this afternoon but she's also in the courthouse as well as judy smith. this is a name that is quite familiar here in washington. she's the crises manager, famous for cases like monica lewinsky, many famous cases where essentially she comes in and helps the defense. we're going to see what happens as far as how much time he ends up getting. it's going to be ultimately up to the judge. he came in, was sworn in. all of this was under oath. the judge wanted to get a sense of his state of mind. he asked him questions for
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instance have you been seen by a doctor. as we do know jesse jackson jr. has been seen by a psychiatrist. so they went through this whole process to get to his state of mind. he acknowledged he was fum aware of what he was doing, fully aware of the court proceedings. from here we're going to continue on and see what happens next. another tid bit i can tell you is about 20 minutes before i came out here, there was at least four times during those 20 minutes where jesse jackson jr. looked back and it looked like he was looking directly at his father at one point even giving a small smile to his father. we're going to see how this looks at the end of the day. it's not clear if the judge is going to sentence him today. typically the judge will take a few days. like i said, his wife will be back here in the courtroom for her own preceding around 2:30 eastern time. >> you brought up the congressman's state of mind. he took a very long leave of
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absence for what he called bipolar disorder. he ran for re-election, he won and quit two weeks later. this has been quite a year for jesse jackson. >> reporter: really it's been more than just a year. if you look back it was ally remember balgojevich, the whole scandal of the senate seat that was vacated by then senator president obama. he was looking at jesse jackson jr. from that and then this broader examination which led to the misuse of campaign funds which is why we are here today. >> this seems to be the end of the story in some ways. lisa sylvester in washington, thank you. we're going to talk about this case with our legal experts later this half-hour. meanwhile, a massive explosion blows the roof of a popular restaurant during happy hour. the this morning the search is
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on fr one person believed to be missing, a woman who worked there. here's cnn's ted roll lands. >> reporter: the explosion which witnesses say could be felt blocks away engulfed jj's restaurants. flames towered into the sky and black smoke could be seen for miles. >> we live two blocks down and we felt our building shake and we thought a car ran into our apartment. >> reporter: there were reports of the smell of gas an hour before the explosion. fortunately several people inside the restaurant were evacuated just minutes before the blast. the cause is still under investigation, but according to the gas company, a contractor doing underground work may have struck a natural gas line. after the fire was put out, dogs were brought in in case there were additional victims. >> i would fear there are fatalities in a situation like this. when we got to the scene we had a fully involved restaurant that
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had probably several patrons inside at the time of the incident. that's why we're here searching as we are. >> the injured ranged from people hit by flying debris to those who suffered severe burns and are now fighting for their lives. >> reporter: john, this morning as you mentioned they continue to search for this female employee who is still missing. the they are moving some material away from the scene. you can see them up in that cherry picker there giving an observation, a high look at the area and then they're doing to bring in cadaver dogs once they have cleared debris searching for this woman's remains. >> ted, extraordinary pictures of the flames. it was so hot they had to call off the search at one point overnight? >> reporter: they did. because they first searched the perimeter of the area and what they could on the actual ground of what was left of the restaurant. they said as it became dark it became too dangerous to have the dogs there so they suspended the
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search until this morning when the sun came back up and now they are back at it. >> thanks for that. gas prices are up for the 34th day in a row. the new national average is $3.77 for a gallon of regular unleded. no relief in sight. higher prices and optimism about the global economy all helping to push those prices up. china's military says it did not carry out cyber attacks against the united states. the denial comes a day after a virginia cyber security firm released a report about hack k claims by the chinese military. it claims this nonscript building is the home to some of those operations. this is what happened when a cnn camera crew tried to get shots of that building, chased away by security guards. interesting to say the at least. one of the pope's final acts could be changing the rules on succession. a spoerm says he's considering a change in the constitution to allow cardinals to vote for his
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replacement sooner than march 15th. the pope is stepping down at the end of this month. hard care gamers, sony unveils the play station today. since then the company has been losing market share to competitors, the ps 4 reportedly will stream games online. you have to get ready for another blast of wintry weather. snow and ice are accumulating right now from california to wisconsin. by the time its over, the plains could see up to a foot of fresh snow. chad myers is in the cnn weather center. he has the latest. we have been talking about a lot of snow lately. anybody talking about the b word, blizzard? >> there are will blizzard warnings but we don't have it on the ground just yet. a lot of snow on the ground. winds blowing. ground visibility, i 70, 80,
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maybe 29 and 25 in the plains. a lot of snow. this entire pink zone through there is a foot of snow or more and to the south of here into arkansas and parts of oklahoma we will have a pretty significant ice storm as well. the triple threat, the third part of this threat, is the chance of severe weather. this happens in the winter time, we're moving into spring. you have spring type weather on the south side and blizzard-like weather on the north side. it's warming up. we are getting into february, almost into march. the warm air starts to come from the south as the cold low comes in snow on one side and severe weather on the other. we'll watch this even for tomorrow there may be a few tornados in the forecast. >> we will keep watching. moving into spring, we will have to take your word for that. new revelations in the oscar pistorius hearing, information the defense says will prove the blade runner acted in o self-defense. a will he get bail?
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of 70 which some say should spare him the death penalty under a supreme court ruling back in 2002 but foirj sets a high stand for proving mental disability and judges before found that hill did not meet that standard. federal and state appeals courts stepped in minutes before the scheduled lethal inspection last night. oscar pistorius will have to wail until tomorrow to find out if he's getting bail. the defense lawyer grilled the investigating officer with new revelation. robyn curnow has the details. >> reporter: more riveting details on what prosecutors say what happened valentine's day morning and counter charges from the defense. according to prosecutors, witnesses heard arguing coming from the pistorius home for an hour before the shooting. the defense saying the witness's house was 300 meters, about 1,000 feet away. on the stand officers said he used a cricket bat to break down
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the bathroom door. that bat and the cell phone found splattered in blood. the officers said pistorius aimed his gun tu toilet pointing out that he had to turn and fire at an angle to hit the toilet. a witness heard a gunshot and then heard a female scream, then more gunshots. the defense say no female screamed. defense attorneys pressed the police officer who admitted that steenkamp's body had no signs of assault or signs of her defending herself. the officer on seeding he could find nothing wrong with oscar's version of the events. he thought he was shooting at an intruder. prosecutors say they found bullets in the safe at home and will lead to charges of illegal ammunition. later they said they did not establish whose ammunition it was. they also found two boxes of testosterone and needles which defense attorneys contend is
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herbal medicine. they say there's no way the killing of reeva steenkamp was self-defense. pistorius knew his girlfriend was in the bathroom when he opened fire. they cited two previous incidents of police encount terse with pistorius that suggest he could be prone to violence, adding that since they consider pistorius a flight risk he should be held without bail. with that, court is adjourned until tomorrow. >> robyn curnow joins me now live from pretoria in south africa. just a short time ago the uncle of oscar pistorius, a man named arnold spoke about it. let's listen. >> it affected everybody. it's something, the death of a loved one is something you can never, never change. most probably you won't be able to work through it completely. it's just there forever. you'll take it -- >> obviously emotional for the
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family. in the emotions of oscar pistorius have been at issue the last several days. how did he appear today? was he as up set as he had been? >> reporter: no. we've talked about how he's physically over wrout at times. he has literally been trying to control himself and couldn't at times. he was definitely a little more controlled, a little more centered today. he was sitting up right, he wasn't bent over. for his uncle and the rest of that interview saying for oscar this has been incredibly hard to have to listen to the events of that night over and over and over again. i mentioned to you before an air that every time the word reeva or murder was mentioned, he would collapse again. today he's more confident and i think the reason why is that his defense team rarely seemed to discredit or at least weaken the
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state's argument against him. even with that large family supporting him, they all started to loosen up a bit and did look more positive. that appears to be the status today. what happens tomorrow, of course, a whole other ball game. >> there's certainly new energy in the defense today. thanks for being with us. tonight erin burnett explores how the oscar pistorius murder case in trial in south africa will differ from cases in the u.s. these are important questions and differences. watch erin burnett outfront at 7:00 on cnn. jodi arias back on the stand after another day of graphic, graphic testimony. today could be the day she finally testifies about killing heric ex-boyfriend, travis alexander. stay with us.
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colorado is working out rules on who can buy marijuana in that state. beginning neck month the state expects a wave of out of state visitors coming for pot which voters made legal last year. signs on airports, roads informing visitors that marijuana cannot leave the state. today is the day we could hear jodi arias describe how she
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claims to have killed her ex-boyfriend travis alexander. it will be her 8th day on the stand. she says she did it in self-defense. yesterday she told the court about the hours leading up to that moment. joining me now is beth karas, correspondent for in session on our sister network trutv and criminal defense attorney carrie hack et. both lots of sexual testimony yesterday again. she describes text messages she exchanged with alexander? >> yes. these text messages,john, are part of her foundation for describing to the jury the nature of her relationship with the man she killed. she wants the jury to believe she killed him in self-defense and that she feared him. they were thelg each other they loved each other and then there were nasty text messages.
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that's why they were introduced. she described how they affected her and how she would tremble even though she was 1,000 miles away. >> when the jury sees these texts sometimes hot, cold, loving, sometimes not. what do you think the jury sees? >> i think that was interesting in yesterday's testimony was that texts were read into the record that contained information about revenge and punishment. that's going to go to the defense's case that she was an aguess certify and she was acting in self-defense. i think revenge and punishment that she's going to punish her for the things that she's done and he's going to get revenge on her, that can help her out here. >> sort of setting the tone. do we expect to hear about the actual killing today? it is the 8th day and we haven't heard about the actual moment of the killing. >> yes. unless she has some excuse for not being in court today like she's sick she's going to talk about it at 12:30 eastern time
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when she remes her testimony. because court broke on a cliff hanger yesterday. she was right at the point of taking photos of him in the shower and the attack occurs right as she's taking photos of him in the shower. she's going to get to the killing. let's see how much she remembers though. >> it seems like they stopped to build up the tension of the moment. carrie, you brought up building a case in the defense. arias denied that she died her hair, renting a car right before a trip to his house, denied the idea of premedication. what kind of case she was laying out here? >> she's basically trying to tell the jury that she didn't go there intending to kill travis alexander. the jury is going to have to determine whether her testimony is credible in light of the fact that she has given investigators an various news outlets several different stories about what happened there. they're going to have to listen to her testimony and decide
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whether what she's saying about the murder, whether she was attacked and acted in self-defense, whether that was credible or not. she's sticking to her story that she did not intend to kill him when she went to visit him in arizona. >> today should be the day we finally hear from her about the killing itself. thanks. reminder you can watch the trial this afternoon on our sister network hln and trutv in session. also you can see it on from capitol hill to the house and now maybe to prison. the troubled path of jesse jackson jr., our legal experts weigh in at the bottom of the hour. one.
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she returned to the set of abc's good morning morning after signing off six months ago to undergo a bone mayor row transplant for a rare blood disorder. listen to what she said helped get her through the difficult time. >> faith, family and friends have brought me to this moment. i am so full of gratitude, so many people i want to thank throughout the morning. >> robin was welcomed back to the show this morning with a taped message from mrs. obama. on a personal note let me say, robin, you rule. when chad lengthers watched painful tumors take over his brother's body he took charge of the disease in a truly unusual way. here's dr. sanjay gupta with this week's human factor. >> what would compel thousands of people to run a mile in their end ware in the winter? they are raising money for this man and others who suffer from
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nf that causes noncancerous tumors. drew grew up in the suburbs of atlanta and when he was 16 he was diagnosed with this rare disease. >> by the senior year of the high school the pain was a daily experience for me. >> by the time he was 23 the tumors were so bad he was no longer able to walk. little was known about the illness or how to treat it. drew's struggle inspired his brother chad to do something drastic. he gave up a successful graphics company and joined a foundation to raise money and awareness for nf. >> to see a life that you so so promised being stripped away, the only thing to do is to reach out and do your best to try to find a solution to educate other people about it. >> years ago cupid's run was conceived. the first event in d.c. raised approximately $10,000. now the event is international. race officials say $1.3 million will be raised this year. at 25 drew is benefitting from
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his brother's efforts. after being bid ridden for years he's in a clinical trial that uses a cancer drug to shrink the tumors. he has less pain, out of bed, drives a car, and plans to go back to school next fall. >> the fact that we an option to stem the tide of that suffering in anyway way makes it the most important thing i can do with my life. >> drew gives a lot of credit to his brother and friends for working to help him through nf. >> through all of this he has been stalwart. he has had such faith and it has been because of the community around him. dr. sanjay gupta cnn reporting.
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welcome back. a natural gas leak is being blamed for the explosion that leveled a popular kansas city ris straunt late yesterday. the last injured 15 people. one woman is missing, a search is under way. city officials are holding nus conference and we'll bring you new information. we are storms are coming our way. up to a foot of snow. arkansas is under ice storm warnings until tomorrow ach. we are in between court hearings for a one time power
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couple. jesse jackson jr. and sandra jackson, the former congressman is pleading guilty to campaign funds. his wife is due in court this afternoon to admit to filing buying gus income tax returns. our experts darren is host of the program deadly since on the investigation discovery network. carrie hackett is a criminal defense attorney in atlanta. darren, let's start with you. the amount of money we're talking about here and lavishness if that's a word of the spending. we're talking children's furniture, rolexs here, pretty big. >> i'll go with lavishness as a word to tie it to deadly sins. this is pure unadult rated greed we're seeing here. basically jesse jackson jr. used his campaign accounts as his
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personal piggy bank for seven years according to the documents 0 file here to the tune of about three quarters of a million dollars. this was for some pretty lavish items. we're talking about the watch, memorabilia from famous folks. i like the bruce lee memorabilia, too. clearly a reality show can't be too far away for this formal power couple. as much as we love to see people fall from grace, we love to see them resurrected. we have not heard the last from this couple. >> the maximum prison time he could get is five years. what is the likelihood he'll see that much and what are the factors involved here? >> i don't think he's going to see a lot of prison time actually because he has cooperated with federal authorities. he has expressed extreme -- he's very remorseful. he feels terrible about this. he wants to put this behind him. he has cooperated, moved forward
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with this case quickly, provided prosecutors with all the information they need to move forward with this case against him. because of his cooperation, despite the amount of money that's involved here he's not going to see a lot of time in jail. >> darren, what about the fact that -- >> go ahead. >> i want to jump in. i agree with carry completely that the early admission of guilt is a mitigating factor here as the notion that he's got some long-standing mental illness and legitimate things he's been grappling with. that said the only thing he's legitimately story for is getting caught, given the long term nature of this. i have a hard time believing the judge is going to be really moved by any motion of now being con trite over this. >> you brought up mental illness. he was being treated for bipolar disorder for months and moss t mayo clinic. will that factor into the judge's sentencing?
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>> certainly it could. >> go ahead, darren. >> certainly his mental state can be an important factor for the judge to consider and a judge in a federal court has a massive amount of discretion. as carry point out he's looking at a maximum sentence of five years. the judge can go from no jail time and e probation to the max of five years. since his wife is facing up to three years in prison the real victims in the case could be the kids. if both of them end up getting prison time it's unfortunate to think about the family there. >> carry, the idea that we're talking about both mr. and mrs. jackson who will be sentenced for something today, will a judge consider that, those kids? >> i think so. i think the judge is going to consider the kids. i think it's also important to look at, as darren discussed, the duration of the mental illness. because mr. jackson has had
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mental illness for some period of time and this has been an on going thing for him, during the entire duration of these actions of taking these campaign contributions and miss appropriating them. >> stay with us right now. welcome back and talk about more issues coming up. olympian oscar pistorius remains in a south african jail this morning. his bail is extended for one more day. we'll examine it, coming up next. lident kills 99.99% of odor causing bacteria and helps dissolve stains. that's why i recommend polident. [ male announcer ] cleaner, fresher, brighter every day. [ male announcer ] when we built the cadillac ats from the ground up to be the world's best sport sedan... ♪ ...people noticed. ♪ the all-new cadillac ats --
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new developments now from that natural gas leak and explosion in kansas city. we have just learned that a body was pulled from the popular restaurant that burned late yesterday. that blast injured 15 people. we will bring you more as it comes in. meanwhile, the oscar pistorius murder mystery has rifted the world. is he a cold, calculating killer. host of investigation discovery deadly since and criminal defense attorney can carry hackett join me now. explain to me how the south african legal system works. there are differences. how long does a trial take and who gets to decide if oscar pistorius is guilty? >> in south africa trials are very slow usually but because of the high profile nature of this case we think it will proceed a little more quickly and by more quickly i think in about four to six months this case could be
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concluded. in south africa it's different from an american judicial system in that a judge will decide his fate. a judge sits on the bench with two magistrate judges and they decide whether the defendant is guilty or innocence and are acquitted of the charges. >> today was the day we saw a lot of energy from the defense. one of the things thae were doing is smoker holes in the case, the investigator on the stand, holding his feet on the fire. does that make it more likely that pistorius could get bail tomorrow? >> to give this context, what the defense team is trying to do here is to get the judge to downgrade the seriousness of the events so that it increases the likelihood of bail. ultimately when we are talking about release from custody, the overriding concern is flight risk. here of course, given the international securitiny and focus on this case and on oscar pistorius, i don't think that
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oscar poses much of a flight risk. all of that said, i also think it's he'll unlikely that oscar is going to be released from bail unless it's under string ent conditions. if he were released i would expect him to be suth to electronic monitoring to his whereabouts are known. frankly it's politically risk key to release him from custody and he may be in danger based opinion the public outcry. >> i want to ask you about some of the information that came to light in court today, the defense trying to poke holes in the prosecution case saying that the testosterone was not testosterone, it was an herbal supplement. the defense saying there were no marks or signs of self-defense on the body of reeva steenkamp. what is to gain from that defense laying that case out there right now in the bail hearing as opposed to the ultimate trial? >> going back to what darren
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said, they're trying to show this case should be downgraded from a case involving premeditation to something less than that, a case not involving premeditation. i think the defense is trying to show that mr. pistorius actually was not an aggressive person and that this wasn't something planned, premeditated and that he didn't have a history of prior acts of violence or aggression and that that testosterone or lack of testosterone would go to that point. >> darren, is it a problem then that the defense is poking holes in the case or is it sort of a map for how to handle the trial? is it defense showing their hand giving the prosecution an opportunity for down the line? >> i think this is one of the very, very risky high stakes maneuvers that the defense is ingaejd in -- >> darren, i got to cut you off. we have another story going on. the attorney for jesse jackson jr. speaking about that case right now.
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lets listen. i'm sorry. we're waiting to get audio from the attorney for jesse jackson jr. we will bring you his words as soon as we get them in here. darren, i'm sorry. i cut you off. we were talking about oscar pistorius and the prosecution and the idea that they have had some holes poked in their case today and whether it will matter ultimately at the time of the trial. >> what ai was saying is it's a very risky move on the part of the defense team to be so particular about their case. generally speaking when you are defending a case you don't want to commit. you like the flexibility of the defense to speak to the evidence that comes out. oven times things play out differently than they are at the outset of the case.
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it is a risky high stakes maneuver to be this clear, this explicit not just about your theory but about -- >> darren, with that we will try to go back to read wine gardener, attorney for jesse jackson jr. >> that's not an excuse. that's just a fact. jesse has turned the corner there as well i think. optimism here too. jesse has gotten great treatment and i think he's gotten his arms around his problem. time will tell but we are optimistic. finally, i would say we're hopeful and we expect that there will be fairness in the process. a person who has contributed so much to his community, done so much for so many people will and should get credit for it. finally, of course, his primary concern, jesse is many things, including being a terrific father. he has two small children and we are hopeful that in short order or at least in reasonably short order, jesse, again, will be a
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full time, wonderful, caring, devoted dad. thank you very much. >> read wine garden, attorney for jesse jackson jr. calling for fairness in the sentencing. jesse jackson jr. pleaded guilty today on charges of skimming amount of money from campaign money and spending alavishly to everything from watches to if you ares and bruce lee memorabilia. his attorney pleading for fairness in sentencing. we'll find out maybe later today or tomorrow. we'll be right back. [ loud party sounds ] hi, i'm ensure clear... clear, huh? i'm not juice or fancy water. i've got nine grams of protein. that's three times more than me! [ female announcer ] ensure clear. nine grams protein. zero fat.
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in blueberry/pomegranate and peach.
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three years since the supreme court gave labor unions unlimited amounts of money to spend on political ads. whether you like that decision or not, you'll agree it definitely changed the game. more changes could be coming.
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justices have agreed to hear a case from alabama that challenges some longstanding limits on direct contribution to candidates and groups by ordinary citizens. let's get to our lawyers. darren in los angeles and carrie in atlanta. darren, the question a lot of people are asking right now is is this some sort of supreme court sequel to the citizens united case which allowed for unlimited expenditures? >> the law in general is supposed to change and to evolve and to be responsive to the changing circumstances in society. since that fundamental case came down with the limitations to campaign contributions, obviously, things have changed. the dollar is worth a different amount than it used to be. sadly, it's a heck of a lot less. and so the law is now now
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apparently open to flexibility. then only the truly wealthy will be able to have influence in how the government -- the business of government is done. so that's the tension that the court's going to be wrestling with, and it will be fascinating to see how all of that plays out. >> carrie, legally the issue for the court is on contributions and spending. they have distinguished between the two, and contributions have been more regulated, spending less regulated. can you explain from a legal standpoint why this is. >> i think they're trying to prevent corruption from occurring. i do think, though, that that line is becoming more blurred, and i think that what will ultimately happen, if the supreme court comes down and says, in this recent -- this current decision, that individuals can spend in greater amounts. there may be no limit. i do think that line is going to
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become nonexistent. >> but, darren, the supreme court has said -- >> just think about -- i was going to say they have said there is a difference between a corporation writing unlimited checks on an independent expenditure and a big rich business guy giving a check for $1 million infoto a candidate. they have said there is a difference there. >> i may -- personally, that sounds to me like a distinction without a difference because generally those corporations are owned by actual people. so it certainly is possible for a corporation to carry out a particular agenda or mandate just as well as an individual has. i guess the thing that i'm hung up on here is how much bruce lee memorabilia and gold plated rolexes will those million dollar campaign contributions make in light of some of the other stories that are garnering attention today. >> darren and carrie, it is, in fact, interesting that this is happening on the day when jesse jackson pleading guilty to misusing $750,000 in campaign funds. thank you for pointing that out.
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stay right here. we have an interesting case we want to talk about here. a woman turned away for being too fat for a massage. is that possible? we'll announcer ] roc® retinol correxion max. the power of roc® retinol is intensified with a serum. it'sroven to be 4x better at smoothing lines and deep wrinkles than professional treatments. roc® max for maximum results.
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[ female announcer ] nothing gets you going quite like the power of quaker oats. today is going to be epic. quaker up. two. three. my credit card rewards are easy to remember with the bankamericard cash rewards credit card. earn 1% cash back everywhere, every time. [ both ] 2% back on groceries. [ all ] 3% on gas. no hoops to jump through. i earn more cash back on the things i buy the most. [ woman ] it's as easy as... one! -two. -[ all ] three! [ male announcer ] the bankamericard cash rewards credit card. apply online or at a bank of america near you. imagine you're being told you are too fat for a professional massage. a colorado distance runner had booked a therapeutic massage
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after a race, and then this happened. >> i had planned it specifically for the day after my marathon because i knew i'd be hurting. the doctor comes out, and she says, i'm sorry, but you're too fat for our tables. you're going to probably break a table, and you'd have to pay for it. and i was like in shock, like i'm hearing this? >> so let's bring in trial attorney darren kavonoky in los angeles, host of "deadly sins," which airs saturdays on discovery. and carrie hackett in atlanta. the owner of the center denies calling the woman fat. she said she used the word large. and also one of her massage tables recently broke under a client who weighed much less than this woman. carrie, what's the legal issue here? is it one of discrimination or liability? >> i think the owner was thinking about it from a liability standpoint. with respect to discrimination, obese people, or heavy people, are not a protected class with respect to discrimination.
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so individual biusinesses like this business owner can deny people services if they are heavy or obese, as they see fit. in this particular scenario, i think that the owner was concerned about liability. certainly, there's no discrimination issue here. >> darren, it doesn't seem like particularly good business. i guess the woman was 6'4", 250. it seems there would be people bier than that who went in there and wanted a massage at some point. >> let's put aside the legal niceties. i agree with carrie in terms of the legality, but from a pr standpoint, this one is a nightmare from the owner of the massage studio. frankly, if you are in that busine business, buy the reinforced tables. at the end of the day, we're talking about a woman that was an athlete. she had just completed a half marathon. this is somebody who legitimately needed that therapeutic massage. you've got to be set up for that stuff.
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